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From Poppy to Lily: how I thought up Girls on Tour


A funny thing happened recently. A kind blogger helpfully pointed out that the Goodreads blurbs for the Girls on Tour series were all out of date. They referred to earlier drafts of the blurbs and things I’d changed ages ago – like Jesse in Lily Does LA being called Mark and Rachel getting dumped by Oliver. I have no idea where they got them from – did they hack my computer? – but it just shows you, the internet is written in ink. It made me think about how far the Girls on Tour have come since I first dreamed them up over tea with my agent in Shoreditch House. (And yes, I know how pretentious that sounds and I love it).

What happened was, I wasn’t sure what to write next after If I Could Turn Back Time. The idea of starting a whole new book seemed terrifying. So I decided to write a stand-alone shorter story with Poppy from The Out of Office Girl. I knew I was going to send her somewhere on a work trip, and initially it was going to be to Los Angeles (and called Poppy Goes to Hollywood, boom boom).

But it just didn’t work. I was thinking up all sorts of ‘hilarious’ scrapes for Poppy to get into, but they were all lame. And then I realised that a trip to Paris would be much more up Poppy’s street. And that someone else would be going to LA: Lily. I think it works because in each of the stories, the girls go somewhere that represents something they really want. Poppy wants art, culture, patisserie, romance: hence Paris. Lily wants freedom, opportunities, sunshine and to be an actress; hence LA. And the other stories just came from there, and ending with a trip of all four girls to Manhattan because, where else?

I’m very excited that Lily Does LA is out next week because (and this is a secret) it’s my favourite book in the series, and Lily is my favourite character. If you like her too, you’ll meet her again in Rachel Does Rome and in The Girls Take Manhattan. Aaand … when the full series comes out in a bind-up book there will be EVEN MORE material in between each mini-book, so that you can read the whole thing like a novel.

But that’s not til next April, so let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Bring on Lily Does LA! It’s out next week and you can pre-order it here.

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